Reading To Your Dog: The Surprising Science That Will Shock You

So as it turns out, dogs like a bedtime story just as much as children do!  We know this thanks to the UK based More Th>n Pet Insurance (no, that’s not a typo), who funded a research project dedicated to creating a dog and cat audiobook.  The results of the project have been scientifically proven to calm and relax pets.

Bedtime Stories for Dogs???

Have you ever noticed that when you talk to your dog in certain ways, that their ears perk up and their head tilts to the side?  Well, that is because certain pitches and tempos appeal to dogs more than others. Dogs relate to inflections, length of sounds, and even volume of speech in different ways.

Animal behaviorist Karen Wild and Veterinarian Robert White-Adams shared their research and knowledge with More Th>n to help write and produce Teddy and Stanley’s Tall Tale, the first ever bedtime story for dogs!

After the story was completed, they worked with famous British voice actor, Simon Callow to turn it into an audiobook. The result? A charming story of two furry friends, Teddy & Stanley, told in the most undulating, hypnotic and entrancing voice.  Warning: It’s sleep inducing power will work on you too and you dreaming in no time, but did you know that dogs dream just like we do?

Doggie Dreams: Why it’s Important

Dogs dream in the same way that humans do, meaning that their sleep follows the same patterns as ours. First, they fall into slow wave sleep, and eventually fall into deep sleep, and then the Rapid Eye Movement or REM.

Dreams occur during REM sleep, and researchers speculate (with good reason) that dogs dream about the same things humans do…their day! They dream about the highs and lows, and the
things that interest or influence them the most. Scientists believe that since dogs spend the most time with their owners, most of their dreams are about their people. Awwww!

Of course, my dog probably dreams about sprinting through the house, sliding around corners, and leaping on or over the furniture. What do you think your dog dreams about? Maybe, the pretty poodle down the road? The squirrels that dare to taunt them through the glass door? I wish we knew!

What we do know is that REM sleep is just as important for our dogs as it is for us. The REM stage of sleep is the stage where our bodies are fully at rest and can start to heal and rejuvinate for another big day. So, when your dog is twitching and whimpering, just let them be. It’s a good thing!

Remember, if you must wake a sleeping dog, make sure you do it with a quiet voice and never by touching or startling them. Most dog bites occur when a sleeping dog is startled awake, especially if in their dream…they were just closing in on that pretty poodle!

Bedtime Routine: What You Can Do

A little bedtime routine never hurt anyone. A warm bath, a short massage, a lullaby…believe me, if your dog could talk, he or she wouldn’t say no to any of that! I mean heck, would you? They certainly don’t need that extensive of a routine every night, but here are a couple of things you can do to ensure a restful night’s sleep, or to calm your dog before a stressful event (like a noisy Fourth of July fireworks display!).

Get a Book: You can download Teddy and Stanley’s Tall Tale for free or listen to it right here on  YouTube. It’s great to listen to, but it’s really a lot more fun to read it out loud to your dog!

The book gives directions on the tone or inflection you should use by utilizing colored words or italicized or underlined phrases.  These color coded words indicate how to say them in just the right way to capture your pooch’s attention and help them relax.

I also found this cute book called Bedtime Stories for Dogs by Leigh Anne Jasheway. The stories are short and simple and they are all about everything dogs love!

Get Cozy: After selecting your book, next it’s time to put some adorable puppy pajamas on your dog (5 Reasons To Buy Your Dog Ridiculously Adorable Pajamas) and snuggle up in bed.

If your dog can’t get up on the bed themselves, I recommend some dog steps if you have a higher bed, or if your dog is older or smaller, because it just helps them feel more safe and secure.  Less stress will help them settle in much easier for the bed time story

Get Dreamin’: For dogs with high anxiety, or dogs extremely fearful of lighting and thunderstorms, a little Melatonin can work wonders in helping them achieve peaceful sleep.

A very small dose may be administered, but make sure there are no additives that might be harmful to dogs, like Xylitol, which is deadly for them.  After that, then it’s off to dreamland where bunnies run amok and table scraps fall from the heavens like soft snow falling on a winter’s day.

With a little one-on-one tender loving care from a bedtime story, some comfy doggie pajamas and loving cuddles from you, your little fuzzy-butt will be snoring in no time flat.

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